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Dracula vs. Frankenstein Review
Matt Sharp gives his take on the latest Deadly Serious Co. production

On the day before Halloween, Wes Brown and I went along to Otley near Leeds to attend a new play funded by the Young Writers Hub. We both little idea of what we were about to see, we only knew the title of the play; ‘Dracula vs. Frankenstein’ from a Deadly Serious Production co. What followed was essentially a Halloween pantomime. The plot being; two American teenagers from Philadelphia travel to Transylvania and get caught up in doctor Frankenstein and count Dracula’s plans to instigate an Apocalypse and become rulers of hell on earth.

Written and performed by a cast no older than nineteen it was an impressive and creative piece of work. What stuck out for me was the confidence of the cast; each actor was comfortable in their roles (each play two or more parts) and was believable in them too, you are immediately included in the world they are creating. The enjoyment that came from them was very evident. It was clear that they were doing something that mattered to them and had worked hard on, this built upon my enjoyment of the performance.

What was even more impressive was just how funny it was. I am a big comedy fan, I read and watch comedy all the time, yet I was laughing throughout the performance. The casts comedic abilities were more mature than that of people five or ten years older than themselves. It being a pantomime, the usual traits and tropes of the vaudeville and Shakespearian comedies were present: cross dressing, gender confusion, audience participation and word play. But along with these were very nuanced and clever jokes weaved around the traditional. Things like call backs, self-deprecation and deconstruction of what they were doing, all more fitting to top stand-up comics such as Stewart Lee and Daniel Kitson were confidently sew in seamlessly. There was even a parody set on film of ‘the creature from the black lagoon’ (in blood curdling 2-D, as the plays tag line states) that came out of nowhere but was probably got the biggest laugh of the night. As a comedy fan and a writer who tries to bring about comedy in my work, I was impressed and ever so slightly jealous of their abilities.

The only downside to the performance was that it was over long. I felt that some scenes could have been shaved down or cut out entirely, resulting in a slicker and more fulfilling experience for the audience. The time it takes to get to Philadelphia to Transylvania was baggy and, in relation to the rest of the play, barely needed.  

Nethertheless, I was thrilled at these young people’s abilities and creativity. I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would and was genuinely impressed. I look forward to their next work.

For more about Deadly Serious Theatre and to read a preview in the Leeds Guide, click here.

Matt Sharp is a young writer and director of the Young Writers' Hub podcast.